Did you know there were two Pat Kelly cards in the 1980 Topps set?

Well, it’s true.

The former All-Star (with the White Sox in 1973) made his 1980 Topps debut on card #543, finishing a dramatic follow-through in that sweet old Baltimore Orioles uniform.

Since it’s a 1980 card, you have to figure the picture is from 1979, when the O’s won an(other) American League pennant.

Cool card all around for guy entering his last season with the Orioles and who would finish up a 15-year career with the Indians in 1981.

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All in all, Kelly ended up with 1147 hits, 76 home runs, and 250 stolen bases — good, solid semi-star stuff, with a pretty good run as a pinch hitter over his last few seasons.

Then, if you head over to card #674, you’ll find Pat Kelly again.

Only this time, he’s a catcher on the Blue Jays Future Stars card.

Yeah, different guy (though still in the American League East).

That Pat Kelly, the Toronto catcher, had never played in the Majors prior to 1980, but began the season looking like he was about ready after seven long years of seasoning in the minors with the California Angels and the Blue Jays.

Finally, on May 28, 1980, Kelly made his debut.

He played three games through June 3, and then … well … it was back to the minors.

For good.

For a good long while, actually, as Kelly played in the bushes into 1987, sprinkling in a couple of seasons as a coach or manager.

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But that’s not actually the extent of the Pat Kelly Factor in the 1980 Topps set, because PK543 also appears on the Orioles team card at #404.

It’s possible young PK674 squeezes into the action on the Blue Jays team card (#577) but seems unlikely given that he didn’t play for Toronto in 1979 … and I can’t make out the faces well enough to say for sure.

What I can say for sure is that Pat Kelly and Pat Kelly share something else in common — neither one of them had “Pat” for a first name.

It was Harold Patrick Kelly roaming the Orioles outfield.

And it was Dale Patrick Kelly squatting behind the plate for the Blue Jays. And it’s also DPK who is a current manager in the Reds’ minor league system, signing on with the Triple-A Louisville Bats for 2020.

Apparently, that middle-name-Patrick deal was irresistible for Big Leaguers with a last name of Kelly as the 1980s dawned.

The effect seemed to have worn off by the time the Yankees got their hands on a Pat Kelly in the early 1990s, though …

Patrick Franklin Kelly enjoyed a nine-year career in the Bigs, but — alas — no card in the 1980 Topps set.


Wow! Wax of the Day

One of the things I like to do is troll eBay looking for unusual or especially nostalgic sports lots … unopened stuff, in particular. For awhile over on Wax Pack Gods, I was bubbling up one of these puppies every day … hence, “Wow! Wax of the Day.

It’s been awhile since I did that on the regular, but it’s still fun to break it out every so often, especially when something catches my eye … like this 1981 Topps rack pack:

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This is the sort of thing my mom bought me at the grocery store in the very first year I collected, and it features a Hall of Famer (Don Sutton) and a choice rookie card — Fernando Valenzuela (and Mike Scioscia).

Fernandomania!

Anyway, it’s pretty cool to see this all these years later, and definitely worthy of a spot here. Because, remember — wax is a state of mind.

You can see the full listing right here (affiliate link).

And, let me know if you enjoy this sort of thing, and maybe I’ll bring it back to some extent.

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